How to group content, prevent large topics?


(Bart van Bragt) #1

One of the things that I have been pondering for quite some time now is how to properly organise discussions/topics on community sites/forums.

Most forums end up having HUGE threads about specific topics. An example on is:

A lot of replies, small discussions which quickly get drowned in new introductions.
Another example:

Lots of suggestions, discussions about those suggestions but it’s hard to keep track because everything is ordered chronologically.

Threaded discussions would be a logical solution but I’ve never really seen that work.
Lots of small forums (i.e. an ‘introductions’ forum on Feverbee) would lead to an explosion of categories.
Splitting topics is cumbersome and hard to do because lots of discussions are strongly intertwined in those topics.

On my site we have a lot of ‘central’ topics. I.e. a topic about Game of Thrones, about suggestions for Christmas presents, about cute kitten photo’s, etc, etc. they work, but it’s impossible to have a proper discussion in one of them or to really keep track of followup posts.

I did see that more modern software (like Discourse) enables you to refer to a previous posts in a smoother way than by quoting the reply (like vBulletin and the likes do). But that’s still not exactly optimal in my opinion.

What do you think?
Do you recognise this problem?
Have you solved it?

What would help you build a more successful community today?
(Sarah Hawk) #2

It can be a problem, yes.

There are two ways I manage it (using Discourse).

Replying to an individual launches a kind of mini-threaded conversation I keep track on Discourse by bookmarking things of note that I need to refer back to.

See this examples: there is a 2 Replies dropdown on the left

I also use bookmarking to keep track of specific things that I need to come back to – they act as a ToDo list.